In a keynote address to the International Conference on Computer Aided Design (ICCAD) in San Jose, California on 5 November 2001, Thomas N. Theis, director of physical sciences at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, predicted that self-assembled nanoscale devices will eventually replace silicon transistor devices. Theis predicted that in 10 years chemically synthesized nano-building blocks will begin to replace semiconductor logic and memory devices, and within 20 to 50 years we should see pervasive use of self-assembly. The address was covered in EE Times ("IBM scientist sees nanotechnology supplanting transistors", by M. Santarini, 6 November 2001).
Update: The EETimes coverage of the ICCAD program also included a panel discussion, in which the panelists were asked to speculate on which applications will make the first use of nanotechnology, how soon nanotechnology will be widely introduced, and how the technology will affect design tools and methodologies. The panelists included Theis, Philip Keukes from HP Labs and Eric Parker from Zyvex.